After 90 years of doing business in Detroit, ALCO-NVC has been recognized for its historic contribution to the city and awarded the Business Recognition Heritage Award. This honor and the company’s history were recently celebrated at a special dinner in Detroit.

The company, founded in 1912 by Clarence Willoughby Bair, was originally known as National Varnish Co. The first products it manufactured and sold were varnish, egg preservative, “tinners red” and screen enamel – the fist asphaltic product. Later, a second asphaltic product – a brown shingle stain – was offered. In the beginning, products were packaged in container sizes ranging from half pints to 5-gallon pails. They were hand delivered to customers, a carton or two at a time, via street car.

Clarence’s son, Robert D. Bair took over the company in 1948, and later coined the term “ALCO,” which stood for, “a local company.” By 1979, all four of Robert’s sons were actively involved in the business. Today, ALCO-NVC employs 25 people and manufactures and distributes over 100 products, including coatings, mastics and ice and water protection.